Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 Views: 8723

8 Alternative Spring Breaks You Need to Go On



Every spring, college students flock to the beaches for a break from classes, tests and responsibilities.

Some students, however, opt for a different kind of spring break.

They take Alternative Spring Breaks where they either volunteer in their communities or join group trips to make a difference somewhere new.

I just finished up with a cross cultural assignment in Guatemala. It was spectacular. The cross cultural team at the home base (Guatemala City) were so incredible and it was because of them that made my volunteer experience so meaningful…My assignment was working in a pediatric clinic and not only did I learn a little bit about how the health care system works in Guatemala but developed close relationships with the staff. The families were kind, grateful and so caring.” – Volunteer for Cross Cultural Solutions

There are many ways to have a meaningful alternative spring break this year while still having fun. Check out some of them below and consider spring-breaking a different way this year!


Stay and Help in the U.S.

If you have a passion for helping others, you can find plenty of opportunities in underserved U.S. communities. A passport is not required. These programs are also great for those on a tighter budget.

1. Try the “Collegiate Challenge” Program with Habitat for Humanity

Want to see another part of America?  Through this program, you can gather five or more of your buddies, choose a week and select from the many available work locations.  It’s up to you to get there, but once you arrive, Habitat for Humanity will provide a place to sleep, materials and the opportunity for you to help them build affordable housing and an alternative to substandard living conditions. To find out more and register, click here.

2. United Way offers Alternative Spring Breaks from New York City to San Francisco. 

For these trips you can sign up on your own or with a group of friends. The cost to attend is relatively cheap ($275-395) and can include—meals, housing, local transportation and visits to local attractions. While in these locations, you’ll be doing a service project that community needs most. It could be anything from promoting positive youth development, to cultivating community gardens, to upkeep of a local shelter. Learn more and sign up here.

3. Nature lovers can explore via the American Hiking Society.

This organization offers alternative spring break trips for groups of students that are equal parts outdoor fun and hard work. You can either camp outside or stay indoors depending on the trip (don’t worry—there are indoor bathrooms at all locations.) If campfires, hiking and trail blazing sound like your cup of tea, check out the trips here.


Go Abroad on an International Volunteer Trip

If the word “wanderlust” is anywhere in your Instagram bio and you relish getting far out of your comfort zone, consider taking a volunteering trip overseas.

4. Cross-Cultural Solutions has group trips just for college students.

With locations ranging from Thailand, to Ghana, to Peru, to Morocco, alternative spring breaks have never been more exciting. While there, you’ll work on a project that suits the specific community’s needs best. Some examples of causes are literacy, women’s empowerment, global health, HIV/AIDS, disability and aging. Click here to set up your trip.

5. GVI offers high impact International Service Learning Programs.

Global Vision International (GVI) has been offering programs since 1998.  On their website, you can search by location or by cause. They call these trips for students “service learning” trips because they combine career development with adventure. One day you might be white water rafting in Costa Rica while the next you’re learning about sustainable conservation. Visit this page to learn more.


Stay Local

If a staycation is more your style or budget, there are still a multitude of ways you can have an alternative spring break.

6. Clean out your closet and donate to a local thrift shop

Goodwill or the Salvation Army are great choices. Not only are you creating less waste, but you’re providing clothes for those who can’t afford retail prices.

7. Send care packages or write letters.

There are tons of organizations whose sole purpose is to facilitate your sending care packages and letters to different groups. For example, Operation Gratitude helps you send letters, candy and other items to troops. Visit this page on their site to see instructions.

8. Find a local nonprofit and dive in!

Food pantries, homeless shelters and clean-up crews like “Keep (insert your city here) Beautiful” can always use more help.


If you’ve already planned your spring break, don’t worry. You can also take these trips during your summer vacation!

Are you going to have an alternative spring break this year? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.